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Definition: Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862 from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

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Overview and resources for the Battle of Fredericksburg, including history articles, expert videos, photos, and recommended Web links. There is also an animated battle map for this 1862 Civil War battle in Virginia.

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Fredericksburg, Battle of


Summary Article: Fredericksburg, Battle of
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In the American Civil War, Confederate victory 11–15 December 1862 over Union forces on the Rapahannock River close to Fredericksburg, Virginia. Although the Confederates halted the Union march on Richmond, losses on both sides were heavy: Union casualties were 13,000 dead and wounded; Confederate casualties 5,000, although many of them were lightly wounded.

The Union force, 125,000 troops under General Ambrose Burnside, was advancing south on Richmond, and Fredericksburg was the obvious place to cross the river. As the northern side of the river gave the Union artillery command of the town and vicinity, Confederate general Robert E Lee, took up a position with 85,000 troops on Marye's Heights, a range of low hills about two miles from the river.

Burnside's troops threw pontoon bridges across the river and captured the town of Fredericksburg 12 December. The remainder of the Union forces followed, and on 13 December the Union army advanced in massed formation toward the Confederate lines. The battle opened with an artillery duel, but this died away as the infantry approached their objectives. As they got within range, the Confederates poured a devastating fire into the ranks and 9,000 Union troops fell on the slopes of the hills. A second assault by the Union ‘Grand Division’ of 27,000 troops from Fredericksburg met with a similar fate and Burnside lost heart and withdrew his forces back across the river. Since Lee could not counterattack because of the river, and Burnside was reluctant to make a further attempt, both armies went into winter quarters and the battle ended.

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Battle of Fredericksburg, 1862

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